showbizOn Saturday, the fans of ‘Family’ gathered for an unusual soap party at the Lotto Arena. There, ’30 years of Family Festivities’ was celebrated with three live shows, good for about 15,000 party people. It turned out to be a two-hour trip down memory lane with laughter, a tear and, above all, a lot of musical fireworks.
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“Are you looking forward to it?”, Kürt Rogiers (Lars) asked the enthusiastic audience at the start of the show. Or, Kurt! After all, soap lovers had been looking forward to this evening for more than nine months, because it was initially planned at the beginning of January, but then had to be postponed by corona. The show was dominated by the Bomma (Annie Geeraerts), who was allowed to sit on a stately throne. Her 96th birthday was celebrated. The mater familias in the series has a birthday on December 30, so the timing of the party seemed a bit strange, but the audience didn’t care. When ‘Long will she live’ was launched and the fireworks and garlands provided special effects, the cast and the audience sang along without any problems. The tone was immediately set: it would be a festive evening.
All members of the current regular cast then popped up on the show. She took turns to shine. Only Margot Hallemans (Hanne) and Werner De Smedt (Rudi) were missing, because they had obligations at private parties. The alternating acts followed each other in quick succession and mainly created ambiance in the shack. There were the André Hazes medleys by Jef De Smedt (Jan) and Roel Vanderstukken (Benny). And the live versions of the various opening lines of the series, which led to beautiful harmony vocals. Although there was certainly room for a laugh. For example, the audience was presented with a funny montage of the nicest bloopers on the set and a lot went wrong with the magic trick of Zjef (Jan Van den Bosch) on the side of Kato (Alix Konadu). The public was also promised a lot of nostalgia in advance and it was given in the form of films. Jo Hens sang Eric Clapton’s “Tears in Heaven” on a rundown of the series’ most significant deaths. It was remarkable that a loud applause erupted at the statue of Peter (Gunther Levi). The character died in a house fire last season, but is clearly popular and not forgotten.
(Read more below the photos.)
The fact that there are a lot of good singing voices among the current cast of ‘Family’ was proved throughout the entire performance. Especially Aaron Blommaert (Raven), Roel Vanderstukken (Benny) and Jo Hens (Niko) excelled on the vocal level, but Karen Damen (Vanessa), Maarten Cob (Jelle) and Yanni Bourguignon (Cédric) were certainly able to animate the audience. The highlight of the whole gang was public favorite Jacky Lafon, who first took care of ‘The Return of Zatte Rita’ during a comic sketch. The audience responded enthusiastically with warm applause. And then she still had to sing her hit song ‘La Vie en Rose’. Afterwards Jacky said: “On stage I got goosebumps. I could barely sing from the emotions. I’m so happy I got to be here. This was such a blessing.” It is not clear whether the performance will continue with a comeback in the series. In any case, Jacky hopes so.
Camille provided a strong highlight with her live version of the latest opening song of ‘Family’. A medley of her hits followed. The song ‘Firework’ got Amine Boujouh (Brahim) as an extra dance act and ended with hot flames and real fireworks. Aaron Blommaert (Raven) and Charlotte Sieben (Louise) subsequently signed for a romantic moment. The actor sang the love song ‘Allemaal door jou’ by Bart Peeters, while a video of all kissing couples from the series passed on the large LED screens. When the two TV sweethearts also kissed each other deeply after the song, it turned out once again that they are the chouchous of the public at the moment.
Although Willy Sommers was certainly not inferior to that. In ‘Family’ the singer has been the absolute favorite artist of the Bomma for years and he was allowed to rock things three season finals ago with a much-appreciated live performance during Benny’s benefit. Annie Geeraerts (Bomma) accepted the beautiful bridal bouquet from ‘Seven carnations, seven roses’ and the accompanying kisses from Willy. In ‘Let the Sun in Your Heart’, the entire cast appeared on stage to dance the polonaise. Hands in the air, flickering cell phone lights, nothing but smiling faces: it turned out to be the perfect apotheosis of the soap party.
(Read more below the photos.)
Afterwards, the Bomma thanked the singer, but also the audience: “Thank you for allowing me to be the Bomma of the largest family in the country. I couldn’t wish for anything more beautiful. And thank you for letting us come into your living room every night.”
To conclude, the ‘Family’ cast present played the closing song ‘We are Family’ by Sister Sledge. After which master of ceremonies Kürt Rogiers spoke one last time: “Thank you for the past 30 years and see you Monday on TV”. He clearly sent the soap lovers home satisfied. See you next time? Given the large turnout, perhaps. But there is already good news for those who missed this party. ‘Family 30 Year Celebration’ was captured and will be broadcast later this year on VTM, although an exact broadcast date has not yet been set.
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